Famous Amos, in partnership with the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), announces the second cycle of the Famous Amos Ingredients for Success Entrepreneurs Initiative, a grant and mentorship program that aims to provide the necessary tools and resources to help Black business owners thrive.

The program features a pitch contest, in which prospective recipients submit an application that includes a videotaped elevator pitch and a written statement sharing the nature of their business, why it has the makings of a successful enterprise, and how they plan on using the funds to build a lasting operation. In sum, three business owners will receive $50,000 in unrestricted capital from Famous Amos, totaling $150,000 in cash awards. In addition, a full suite of mentoring and coaching resources will be provided by the National Black Chamber of Commerce.

"We established the Famous Amos Ingredients for Success Entrepreneurs Initiative to support Black businesses and to honor the legacy of the brand's founder, Mr. Wally Amos," said Rachna Patel, senior director of marketing for Famous Amos. "In addition to the grants Famous Amos awards, we feel it is equally important to offer resources such as mentorship, coaching, and networking, which are provided by our community partner, the National Black Chamber of Commerce."

The challenges Black businesses face on the road to sustainability are steep and plenty. According to a report from the Brookings Institution, Black people comprise approximately 14% of the U.S. population, but only 2.3% of owners of employer firms. Findings from the Federal Reserve System's 2021 Small Business Credit Survey showed that most small business owners reported experiencing financial hardship during the early stages of the pandemic, but the highest rate was reported by Black business owners: 92%. The same survey also pointed to challenges for Black businesses getting capital they needed to survive the pandemic, with only 43% of Black firms receiving the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans they applied for, compared to a 79% of White-owned firms.

Lower personal wealth among Black entrepreneurs also inhibits business creation, the report noted, underscoring the need for programs like the Famous Amos Ingredients for Success Entrepreneurs Initiative to provide business capital that Black businesses need to invigorate their operations.

In addition, according to a recent story by CNBC, nearly 8 out of 10 Black-owned companies usually do not survive the first 18 months. Famous Amos strongly believes that pairing these entrepreneurs early on with financial resources and mentorship is a key ingredient to contribute to a more positive direction.